Beauty & Our Wellbeing

 

We're all feeling more anxious at the moment. At Cosmetics A La Carte, we're asking ourselves the question: what can do to minimise it? Can beauty and our daily rituals perhaps make a positive difference?

As well as being Senior Makeup Artist with A La Carte for over a decade, Stephanie B. Galissian is a solution-focused psychotherapist and registered hypnotherapist.

With her unique perspective from both the world of the mind and the world of beauty, we asked Stephanie about the practices that help her stay centred and calm.

We hope you enjoy reading.

Q: Stephanie, lovely to talk to you. What are your top recommendations for coping with anxiety?

Self-care is a really effective way to try to reduce levels of anxiety.

Self-care is a broad term but at its heart is any activity that focuses your attention on the here and now.

Since anxiety is usually about the past or the future, focusing on the here and now helps distract our minds and be fully present in the moment. 

Q What does self-care mean in practice?

Self-care can be taking some gentle exercise, baking a cake, reading, journaling or having a bath. Even the act of applying your makeup can be a form of self care.

Ultimately your choice will be totally personal to you, but planning some time each week for enjoyable activities will have a positive effect on your mood and anxiety levels as well as increasing self-worth and confidence.  

Some simple breathing exercises can also be really beneficial. All you need is 5 minutes each day.

Sit down on a comfortable chair in a quiet room. Close your eyes. Breathe in through the nose all the way down to the abdomen and exhale out through the mouth, taking longer to breathe out than you did to breathe in. This reduces the stress hormone cortisol in the body, calming and clearing the mind.

Q: Self care sounds nice, but every time I treat myself, I feel I should be doing something more productive. What do you advise?

We need to reframe the idea of productivity. The research shows that self-care practices actually make us more productive in the long run. 

Through self-care, we are giving ourselves space to reflect, re-centre and re-energise. So when the time comes to return to other tasks, we are more resilient and more productive than we would have been otherwise.

The benefits are felt in many ways, from better energy levels and moods to happier relationships and more. It really is an investment in your productivity.

We would not neglect our houses, computers or cars to the point that they start breaking down. We make sure they are regularly maintained. It is the same with our mental wellbeing.

We often prioritise the wellbeing of those closest to us such as our kids, friends and partners. Surely it is only fair to devote the equivalent energy you expend on a loved one on yourself as well?

Q: What self-care activities work for you?

Personally I love creating art and having a regular exercise routine. In the evenings, I also enjoy a slow skincare ritual. After cleansing my face, I like taking the time to massage a beautiful oil into my skin as it not only leaves my complexion glowing and hydrated but also reduces the tension in my facial muscles.

I like Cosmetics A La Carte Radiance Restoring Rose Oil for doing this. The Rose Otto in the blend has been shown to soothe nervous activity and induce calm. The scent is wonderfully rich and takes me to a happy and relaxed state of mind.

Scent is a really powerful tool of self-care. From scented candles to beautifully fragranced skincare, it can have beneficial psychological effects.

As well as taking care of my skin, I find doing my make-up each morning is a moment of soothing self-care. It is a quick and uplifting process, and the end result gives me a feeling of accomplishment, too.

It's nice to be inspired by others, but part of the joy is working out what you truly enjoy. Delve deep into your tastes and likes and dislikes and craft your own bespoke ritual. 

Whatever your self-care activity of choice, maximise the benefit by being mindful of each moment and sensation as you do it. Take the time to notice all your senses, such as the relaxing feeling of touch, the aromas you can smell or the sounds you can hear. It’s all part of being absorbed in every detail and appreciating the now.

Q: Some people say they find doing their makeup a chore not a pleasure. Any suggestions? 

Comfort is key. Be sure to make your bathroom and makeup station are as comfortable and positive as possible. For me this means a good chair, good light, and maybe listening to some music. I prefer sitting by a window so I get natural light, which is more flattering. 

Tone down the inner critic. Try to notice if you are being self-critical when you are doing your makeup. Listen out for any criticisms you might be making, and try writing them down. Even this small act can help you get valuable distance, and space to ask whether we want to listen to them any more. It can take some practice, but we can choose not to absorb the negative voices, just like tuning out of a radio station we don’t like. A simple daily gratitude practice can be useful here.

Every day, write down 5 things about yourself that you're grateful for.  It can be as simple as being grateful for having good health, legs to go on a walk, and eyes to enjoy the beautiful view as you go! Each day, add to the list from the day before. Before long you'll have a really long list and concrete proof that there is a lot to appreciate about and love yourself for.

Hone in on what makeup works for you. Knowing what suits you and having the right products will make the experience more enjoyable. Send the A La Carte team a message or email or schedule in a Zoom call. They can guide you on what suits you best and how to achieve a look that enhances the features you like most - your eyes or lips for example. Makeup isn't about objective dos and don'ts, it's totally subjective and has to work around YOU. 

See practice as play. Gift yourself the time to practise techniques without expectation. Look at it as playing, rather than performing, and try not to judge yourself for a smudge here or a wobbly line there. After all, you can always erase and start again! As you get more confident with your products and your skills, your makeup experience will be faster, smoother and more enjoyable.

Q What style of makeup do you find the most mood boosting?

For me it is less about specific techniques and more about product types.

Mascara is undoubtedly the first thing I reach for to make myself look and feel instantly better. Something about the way it opens up the eyes and makes us look wide awake and ready for action. Intense Volume Mascara is particularly good for this because it focuses on making the lashes look fuller and longer.

I particularly like the brush applicator for a flawless and long lasting application. You can apply mascara just on the end of the lashes only for a natural effect, or from the roots to create bigger lashes.  

A lip colour can also instantly lift the face. If you are worried about looking over-done with lipstick, or you aren’t particularly fond of the shape of your mouth, then go for a Sheer Balm texture. These are super easy to apply, very forgiving and hydrating. There are many gorgeous colours in the range and you will no doubt find a suitable tone.

Using more blush instead of contouring is definitely something I would recommend as well to look healthy and cheerful. A little colour on the apples of the cheeks lifts the face and gives a natural glow to the face. For a sheer, glowy and youthful finish, pick cream textures such as Bare Blush.

 

Inspiration

For cooler skin tones

  • Secret Light "Magnolia"
  • Bare Blush "Rose"
  • Luminous Cream Shadow "Breeze"
  • Sheer Balm Lipstick "Camelia"

For warmer skin tones

  • Secret Light "Melba"
  • Bare Blush "Amber"
  • Luminous Cream Shadow "Amour"
  • Sheer Balm Lipstick "Candy"

Thanks for reading. We are the first to admit we are a beauty company, not mental health professionals, and that this article is for entertainment purposes and should not be taken as medical advice. If you wish to find out more detailed information please consider visiting these websites.

NHS Every Mind Matters

Mental Health Charity Mind

For more information about Stephanie’s therapies visit her website www.balancemymind.com